When to Dial up and Dial Down your efforts
Posted on 21st June 2021 at 19:56
I was in the gym this morning and I started chatting to a woman in her early fifties. After an initial conversation, it transpired that she was a nurse. She explained that she worked long shifts and so could only get to the gym a couple of times a week. She wanted to get into shape and 'tighten up' but didn't really understand how to do it effectively. She said, "Getting here feels like a big achievement. I'm not sure what I am doing but I figure that doing something is better than doing nothing." She's right of course but her lack of focus was a concern to me. Why would she invest her precious time in something if she wasn't sure she would get a good return?
I am a big believer in making our efforts count in life - professionally and with our health and fitness. My mission is to help my clients do just that. Anyone can be a busy fool but this will not enable you to thrive. To be truly successful you have to be discerning in how you use your time to drive the results you want. Time is finite so it is critical that you develop a laser sharp focus in how you use it.
The other day I met a ex-coaching client for dinner. I worked with her over a decade ago for several years and we were discussing this very topic. When you have competing priorities, how can you be effective and deliver everything? The simple answer is - you can't. Delivering everything is not realistic and not focused. Instead think about, where will you deliver most value and create the best results? Another way to look at this is understanding your 'why?' Why are you doing what you are doing? Does it give you the outcome that you require? How do you feel about it?
Obviously, this is linked to work-life balance. The term work-life balance has been used for the last couple of decades or more to think about the delineation between our work and the rest of our lives. I personally think this is no longer fit for purpose, especially after the last fifteen months of home working. Our lives are much more complicated then that. Rather than us trying to balance a see-saw of two things, we are having to dial up and dial down many aspects of our lives, including:
- Being a successful professional;
- Caring for children;
- Supporting elderly relatives;
- Looking after our nutrition;
- Investing in our health & fitness;
- Making time for friends and family;
- Having passions outside of work that support our well-being;
- Volunteering in our communities, and much, much more...
All of these things are important but at times we have to choose where we spend our efforts. I think it's useful to think of our lives like an amplifier. There are many dials on the amplifier and it is up to us to decide what we dial up and what we dial down. Ask yourself:
1) What do I need to dial up at the moment? For how long?
2) What are the impacts of dialing these areas up?
3) What am I dialing down as a result?
4) How is this impacting me?
5) How do I feel having my dials set this way?
6) How is my health and well-being?
7) How is my professional performance?
8) How is my energy?
9) What is currently being neglected and how can I make room for this?
10) Do I feel like I am prioritising correctly?
Understanding your 'why' is critical to achieving your desired outcomes
These questions are tough and get us to challenge our actions and the associated impacts. This isn't always a comfortable reflection and quite often we come to the conclusion that our dials are tuned incorrectly.
Many women dial up elements of their lives as a result of other people's needs or wishes, rather than their own - their boss, clients, colleagues, children, partners, family, etc. They will sacrifice their own well-being, health, energy and needs for others, thinking that this is the only way to be valued. Being valued by others starts with valuing ourselves. Think about:
If I valued myself more, what would I be doing more of? How would this help me and others?
You are in charge of what you dial up and what you dial down. You have choices and they impact your success, personally & professionally. You are one person, so need to look after the whole you. Your health and happiness depends on it.
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